In the years between 1860 and 1914, more women than ever pursued equestrian activities throughout Britain. A study of riding manuals for ladies shows why these pursuits became so popular and how female equestrians used sports such as fox-hunting to revise, but not reject, traditional gender roles. Well before the First World War, many British women practised and encouraged the masculine style of riding astride rather than the traditional feminine style of riding sidesaddle. As women riders worked to make this style both acceptable and respectable, they helped to redefine social roles and ideas about proper feminine behaviour which directly or indirectly contributed to the women's rights movement. In these ways, British women were able to use their participation in equestrian activities to advance strong, independent identities for themselves while also helping to create and reinforce a specifically British national identity through horse sports.